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Over 240 municipalities are under blockade

19 November 2012 / 18:11:34  GRReporter
3716 reads

Victoria Mindova

Over 240 of 325 municipalities in Greece have stopped working with the consent of municipal councillors and mayoralties as a protest against the coming cuts of permanent contract employees. The cuts are part of the fiscal consolidation programme in the country, which the government has agreed with the European countries and the International Monetary Fund to continue to receive support funding.

The employees have blocked hundreds of buildings of municipalities and organizations and they will not serve the citizens until union authorities receive assurance from the government that it will not impose layoffs. Monday, 19 November was the last date by which the mayors had to send lists of permanent contract employees to the Ministry of Public Administration. By them, the ministry had to establish the employees and the jobs that could be released as part of the reform of local government organizations.
 
"We will not allow any employee from the municipal department for cleanliness or other to be fired," the general secretary of the union of municipal workers (POE-OTA), Yiannis Tsounis, said. He explained for GRReporter, "Now, they want to dismiss those employees who have signed termless contracts and tomorrow, they will dismiss the employees on permanent contracts. It is all being done to transfer municipal services, that today provide jobs for ordinary people, into the hands of private companies."

The blockades of municipalities are only the first step, trade unionists say, in their decision to obstruct the government's plans to privatize the services. POE-OTA has announced a four-hour strike on Tuesday this week, which will start at 11 am. An hour later, they will hold a protest meeting in Metaxourgeio square. It will culminate in a procession to the relevant ministry, where union representatives will meet with the Minister to put their conditions. They want the government to withdraw the redundancy plan and refuse to transfer the municipal services into private hands. "They want to make the mayoralties collectors of entrepreneurs, who will take over the management of landfills, cleaning and other services performed by us, over the next 25-27 years," trade unionists said.

Organizations that are not presented in parliament, such as Andarsia and the trade union of public administration employees (ADEDY) support their actions. They find the resistance of municipal workers just and insist on the involvement of representatives of other social groups in it too.

Meanwhile, the three people arrested for the attack on the German consul during the Greek-German Forum held last week had to face the prosecutor in Thessaloniki on Monday.

During the forum, protesting municipal workers attacked and threw a plastic cup of frappe coffee at the German consul in Thessaloniki Volfgank Hessler-Obermaier, who was a visitor to the bilateral business forum. Those arrested were aged 39, 47 and 53. The charges are expression of violence, attempted infliction of grievous bodily harm and breach of the public peace. The hearing has been postponed to 28 November this year.

Municipal workers are adamant that the charges against the detainees are unfounded. They say the police have no evidence that these people attacked the Consul. "This is the approach of the authorities to intimidate the workers not to protest against the cuts," trade unionists said. They want the government to withdraw all charges against the detainees to release them. The latest information shows that two of them are municipal workers, and the third is employed in the education system.

Tags: SocietyMayoraltiesBlockadeStrikesProtestsPOE-OTA
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